When teasing goes too far

Posted on: 05/16/17 3:14 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Do your kids resonate with 13 Reasons Why?

Do they ever feel, or have any friends who feel bullied, teased, mocked, or pushed too far?

My longtime blog readers might remember me talking about a book I have been writing literally for years now—the story of a high school kid who was teased and mocked beyond the tipping point. I finished the book and hope to get it published this year.

That’s where you come in.

I never release a book until I’ve had a bunch of people preview it first and give me feedback Continue reading “When teasing goes too far” »

Parenting Advice from Mom of Columbine Killer

Posted on: 02/12/16 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

InterviewTonight at 10PM ABC’s Diane Sawyer will be interviewing Sue Klebold, mother of Columbine killer Dylan Klebold. If you’re a parent, do not miss this interview.

I’m fascinated by this interview, not only as a student of youth culture whose done countless hours of research about school shootings (I’m finishing the final edit of my fictional book on the subject), bullying, and teen expressions of depression. But I’m also fascinated by this as a parent who looks back at my own parenting with a magnifying glass and asks, “What could I have done better?” Continue reading “Parenting Advice from Mom of Columbine Killer” »

3 Steps Preventing Bullying and Gossip

Posted on: 01/12/16 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

CyberbullyingMOVING TEENS FROM COMPASSION TO ACTION- WITH A YOUTUBE VIDEO AND SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS YOU CAN USE!

“Lord, will you please help all the kids who are bullied around the world.”

That was my nephew’s prayer.

A few years ago I wrote a vulnerable article about bullying- Voices of the Bullied– sharing the story of my past and trying to garner some sense out of the experience. In that article I noted: there’s a lot of people talking about bullying… who haven’t been bullied. Continue reading “3 Steps Preventing Bullying and Gossip” »

The Dark Undercurrents of Bullying

Posted on: 12/29/14 9:00 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Nelson-Muntz-bullyI’ve been taking time off work for a few weeks during Christmas break to not only spend as much time as possible with my family, but also to finish writing my first fiction novel, a story about a school shooting on a high school campus—a sobering peek into the dark undercurrents of teen culture and bullying.

The book has been an interesting project, providing a porthole into the perspectives of various individuals: an athlete, a Christian girl, a bullied kid, a teacher, a cop… and countless other teens.

I admit, the book hits a little too close to home. As I dove into the internal psyche of the shy, teased, isolated kid who one day just explodes in a rampage Continue reading “The Dark Undercurrents of Bullying” »

5 Ideas to Help Your Kids be Smarter Than Their Smartphone

Posted on: 12/9/14 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Today's-TeensLast night my wife and I saw a friend at a Christmas party who I hadn’t seen in months… at least face-to-face. But immediately I complimented her on her Thanksgiving decorations and asked how her daughter’s b-day party was last weekend… as if we had just talked days before.

Why?

Instagram. I follow her on Instagram.

Americans have plenty of complaints about cell phones and the Internet. I regularly encounter parents who just want to smash their kids’ phones. But let’s not be too quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater Continue reading “5 Ideas to Help Your Kids be Smarter Than Their Smartphone” »

Shy, Teased, Isolated…Teen Killer?

Posted on: 04/10/14 8:32 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Alex-Hribal-school-stabbingWhy?

It’s the one question no one can really answer at this moment describing the rampage 16-year-old Alex Hribal embarked on yesterday at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, PA. One can only speculate.

His attorney is saying he is just a normal kid. Most are saying he was “shy”, “quiet” and “small.” Some are already using words like “bullied” and “teased.” Like Alex’s classmate who described the teasing as “relentless” at times.

“They just said things. They’d ride him and ride him, and today was the day that he snapped.”

I felt a unique twinge in my spine when I read that quote… because I remember that feeling. I know that emotional state well, not from studying youth culture, or writing and speaking about bullying, but from hearing the jeers and pokes from my classmates in my early teen years Continue reading “Shy, Teased, Isolated…Teen Killer?” »

Keeping Social Media Safe

Posted on: 03/24/14 3:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

phone-safety-children“Should I allow my 13-year-old to use Twitter?”

It happens after every parent workshop I teach. Parents line up with specific questions.

“Is Instagram bad?

Should I let my teenager have her phone in her room at night?

“Should I be worried if I found my teenager using Omegle?”

“All my daughter’s friends are on Ask.fm and she wants to be too. Should I let her?”

(By the way, I know I’ll get comments asking, so my answers to those questions would be: no, no, yes, and no. I let my own teenage daughters have multiple social networking sites, but Omegle and Ask.fm both are venues where anonymous people can chat with little to no accountability, and that’s never a good situation. Here’s an article with more specific details about individual apps.)

The questions always vary, but they all root from the same question:

“Is social media safe?”

This is a pretty broad question. It’s like asking Continue reading “Keeping Social Media Safe” »

Young People and Selfies

Posted on: 03/12/14 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

teen-girls-selfieSmile!

“Aren’t we cute?”

Within seconds the selfie pic is posted to Instagram, and Tweeted to her 326 followers. Just another emblematic snapshot from the life of today’s teen.

Five years ago we didn’t even know the word “selfie.” Fast forward to the end of 2013 and it was declared “word of the year.”

What’s the fascination teens have with selfies? Does this desire to snap pics in everyday life make them narcissistic?

When most people hear “selfie,” they probably think of a Continue reading “Young People and Selfies” »

A Heart for the Unnoticed

Posted on: 11/20/13 10:43 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The-Way-Way-BackDo you notice that kid who seems to disappear under the radar?

In the shadow of a tragic teen suicide, and a weekend training youth workers to notice and connect with teenagers, I was pleasantly surprised by a film that, interestingly enough, has also slipped under the radar. This movie tugged at my heart for young people in a unique way and is no doubt the best film I’ve seen in literally years now.

The 2013 gem of a film is titled The Way Way Back, with Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph and Toni Collette, to name a few. This brilliantly written story introduces an awkwardly shy 14-year-old teen named Duncan whose single mom (Collette) has started dating an unfortunate choice in a boyfriend (Carell). The mismatched bunch go on summer vacation to a beach cabin where Duncan tries his best to escape each day. Duncan finds community in an unlikely place, the Water Wiz Water Park managed by Owen, a free spirited man who befriends Duncan.

This film captured the essence of parenting and youth ministry, specifically three elements Continue reading “A Heart for the Unnoticed” »

R.I.P. baby sister

Posted on: 11/18/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

type“I just love being straight up ignored when ever I need you.”

It was the last thing she posted on her Facebook page. Then she went to her high school the next day and hung herself in the school bathroom.

That was last Friday.

Saturday, the day after this tragic suicide, I spoke at an event in the town where this occurred. Many of the youth workers knew kids from the school; they showed me this young lady’s Facebook page.

Some of the posts contained ‘text speak’ like “lawl sike” (basically saying, “just kidding”). But was she kidding? Continue reading “R.I.P. baby sister” »